5-speed listening (Poonami - Level 3)

'Poo-nami' of raw sewage hits English beaches



Medium (British English)

Medium (N. American English)



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Beaches in England and Wales have closed because water companies pumped raw sewage into the sea. The UK Environment Agency issued warnings to holidaymakers to avoid dozens of beaches this week. Some of the beaches were popular places for tourists, surfers and swimmers. They risked catching diseases if they went into the water. Water companies advised people to keep their mouth closed if they swam in the sea. A resident on the south coast town of Bexhill-on-Sea described seeing things she didn't want to see floating in the water when she swam. She said: "It's filthy, murky, and it stinks." She added the sewage was "quite obvious" to see and smell. She called it a "poonami".

Many people in England are angry with the water companies. England sold its water to private investors in 1989. Company CEOs are now getting million-dollar salaries and bonuses while dangerous raw sewage is polluting the environment. Water companies have pumped raw sewage into Britain's seas and rivers for more than nine million hours since 2016. There has been a 2,000 per cent increase in the past five years. In 2016, the European Union said England's beaches were among the cleanest in Europe; now they are among the dirtiest. One Briton said clean water was a human right and not for company profits. She said water company CEOs care more about their salaries than the UK's environment.

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